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Candidates On The Road
Grade Level: Fifth
Materials: Large US maps, colored pins, newspapers, magazines (television).
Length: Duration of the Campaign.
Divide the class into campaign teams and assign each team one candidate to follow along the campaign trail. Give each team a large map of the United States and post all maps on a bulletin board. Assign each team a color that will represent its candidate. Have students read newspapers and magazines and watch network and/or local nightly news each week in order to see all types of campaign-event coverage.
Each team should trace the movements of its assigned candidate on the map. Each candidate stop should be represented by a colored pin; the pins can be connected with yarn to show the candidate’s progress. During the primary season, the students can color each state their candidate wins. After all primaries and caucuses have taken place, the students should use their maps to answer the following questions in class:
- Which states did candidates visit most? How many delegates are from those
- Which candidate won the most states in each region? Is there a connection
between the region a candidate won and the candidate’s region of origin?
- Did the candidate who visited a specific state most win that state? Is it
necessary to visit a state frequently to win its delegates?
For disadvantaged children without a television, show event coverage, etc.
in class or do not require it.
To shorten the duration of the lesson, only have students follow the primaries or some other smaller aspect of the campaign.
Students will learn the reasons for covering as much of the nation as possible during their campaign as they see that the candidates receive more votes from the places they visited the most. They should also learn the role of a candidates state of origin in the campaign. In addition, by following so much of the campaign, students will certainly gain a better understanding of the electoral process and what it takes to get elected.
This can include how well the students followed their candidate’s movements on the map. Also, look at the connections that students made concerning what areas candidates visited the most and how many votes they received from those areas.
“Primaries and Caucuses Classroom Activities.” C-SPAN Network (14, Sept. 1996).